Tom Moore is recognized as one of the greatest quarterback coaches in NFL history. He is best remembered for overseeing the rise of Peyton Manning as one of the top two or three flaggers of all time. Part of that success has come from the way Moore manipulates practices as an offensive coordinator. One thing that stands out almost immediately is how Manning got almost every rep on the passing drills. When asked why he didn’t give more to backups, the man delivered a quote that has gone down in football folklore. “Guys, if ’18’ drops, we’re screwed. And we don’t practice crazy. Raw but shrewd, as his reputation always has been. It looks like the Chicago Bears are taking the same approach with Justin Fields.
Fans and the media were driven crazy by head coach Matt Nagy’s handling of quarterbacks last year. Nowhere was this more blatant than training camp, where Andy Dalton worked exclusively with the first-team attack. Fields worked with the second and Foles with the third. Considering how few reps players get each day, this felt wrong in a number of ways. Staggering them like this risked ensuring that none of the quarterbacks were prepared for the season. Considering how bad Dalton and Fields looked as starters, those fears turned out to be correct.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has no intention of making the same mistake. According to Bears insiders Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns on their podcast, Fields has gotten almost every rep in training since starting the workouts in May.
Justin Fields has every chance of mastering the new offense.
Getsy knows that the extended area system is hard to learn. Although the coaching staff is full of men who understand how to teach it, the fact is that it can take time before players start to understand how it’s supposed to work. If the Bears want Fields to play well this year, they can’t afford to waste an opportunity to help him seize it. If that means giving him every rep in practice at the cost of backups, then so be it.
It’s not like Trevor Siemian desperately needs it. He already knows the system, having played in it for two years with the Denver Broncos in 2015 and 2016. Third stringer Nathan Peterman likely won’t be on the roster at the start of the season. So Getsy knew exactly what he was doing when the workouts started. All that matters is getting Justin Fields ready for the season as he’s probably their only hope of making some noise in 2022, given where the roster is at.
It’s hard to blame them for such an approach.
If it was good enough for Manning, it’s good enough for Fields. We can safely assume that the young quarterback likes the approach. It finally gives him a sense of command and control over the offense. He can build chemistry with his receivers and tight ends. Communication problems will not be as frequent. The timing will improve. The fields will be much better prepared. Injuries are an inevitable risk in the NFL. Chicago is willing to risk the backups of losing reps if it gives it a better chance of excelling.
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